Two scales are suggested for residential site design. If the designer typically works with engineering scales, then 1" = 10′ is the recommended scale. This scale is also advantageous when measurements are obtained from surveyors because they almost always work in an engineer’s scale. A 75′ X 150′ lot drawn at this scale would produce a plan measuring 7-1/2" X 15". On the other hand, if the designer normally deals with architectural scales, then 1/8" = 1′-0" is the recommended scale. The 1/8" scale is also better to use if distances must be measured to less than 1 foot. And the 1/8" scale is apt to be more easily understood by the homeowners because most people have a “ruler” on which they can read 1/8". The same 75′ X 150′ lot drawn at this scale would produce a plan measuring 9-3/8" X 18-3/4". When areas of the design need to be enlarged to study in more detail, a scale of1/4" = 1 ‘-0" is suggested. Keep in mind that it takes considerably longer to draw a larger plan than a smaller one, and it costs more to reproduce it. Thus, there should be a balance between the amount of detail that needs to be shown in a design plan and the time it takes to draw it.
The base map and base sheet are best drawn in a simplified graphic style for efficiency of time and to maximize flexibility in their use for subsequent drawings. Textures should be kept to a minimum and plant symbols should be simple circles or similar basic outlines. Notes on the base sheet should be few or completely eliminated for adaptability for subsequent design proposals that use it as a beginning point.
The selection of sheet size for the base sheet and base map depends on a number of factors including size of the lot, the scale at which it is drawn, available sizes of vellum and Mylar, and standard copy paper sizes. All of these variables need to be coordinated so that there is as little waste of time and paper as possible.
Vellum and Mylar Sizes There are two general size standards for vellum and Mylar. One is based on a 6" module with the 24" X 36" sheet size being the most routine. Other common sheet sizes are 18" X 24" and 30" X 42". Vellum may be obtained as individual sheets or on rolls that are 24", 30", or 36" wide. The 24" X 36" sheet size is good for an entire residential site drawn at one of the preferred scales and usually allows for some additional white space for notes, legends, and so on (see Sheet layout). A 24" X 36" sheet must be printed on a large format copier or scanned and then printed on a plotter.
The other standard sheet size is based on common bond paper. The normal sheet sizes within this system include 8-1/2" X 11", 11" X 17", and 17" X 22" sheets. Vellum is available in these sizes as either single sheets or in pads. Mylar is similarly obtainable in 8-1/2" X 11" and 11"X 17" sheets. The 11"X 17" sheet size is suitable only when a portion of residential site is being designed at a typical scale like 1" = 10′. This sheet size is also appropriate when the only means of reproducing a drawing is by means of a standard copy machine or inkjet printer.
Copy Machine/Plotter Paper The other consideration in selecting sheet size is the available sizes of copy and plotter paper. The ideal sheet size is one that requires no trimming of extra paper after a drawing has been reproduced. All standard copy machines use 8- 1/2" X 11" or 11" X 17" bond paper. Wide-format copiers typically use 36 wide paper that can be printed to any desired length. Similarly, plotter paper is available in 24", 30", 36", and sometimes 42" widths that can also be cut to any length.